Introduction to These Studies
Many refer to Matthew 10:34 to argue that Jesus message of peace was not absolute.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Taking this verse out of context, it appears very damaging to the Christian pacifist position. Once the verse is seen in its proper context, however, the meaning becomes clear consider it in its proper context:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Looking at the verse in context, we see that the sword referred to is a figurative sword symbolizing personal conflict and division within families. In fact, this passage is paralleled in Luke 12:51, but in Luke the word sword is replaced with the word division:
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
The word sword is used symbolically often throughout the scriptures. For example, in Ephesians 6:17, the word of God is referred to as the sword of the spirit, and in Hebrews 4:12, the sharpness of the word of God is compared to that of a sword. Of course the Gospel brings division! Jesus message has been dividing families, communities, nations, and, in fact, the world for nearly 2000 years. The fact that some will accept our message and others will oppose it is summarized nicely by the Apostle Paul:
To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
Additionally, Jesus warned of the same:
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
In conclusion, examination of this verse within its proper context reveals the intended meaning. Certainly there will be division. Certainly Christians will face opposition, but how we respond to those opposing us is the true issue. Today we as believers are faced with choices; choices that impact how we live and respond to those round about us. Many Christians today have made the choice to fit in with society, and allow our governments to redress the wrongs we see. I ask you to consider Is this what we are instructed to do. With a war in two countries, and a government that continues to take away our freedoms we must seek out what the Scriptures teach. Please keep an open mind as you approach these studies. They will change your life!